Monday, December 1, 2008

Parts and Fits

My husband Mark and I have joined a new church, and we love it! The preacher is articulate, interesting and challenging. The singing is relevant and inspirational. The members are friendly and involved. The ministries are varied and out-reaching. We look forward to serving and building new relationships.

At the orientation meetings we attended, a couple of men subtly encouraged Mark to become a referee or coach in the Upward sports programs. I'm sure their intentions were terrific--the men talked about how much they got out of helping kids in the community. Mark was polite, but he knows that is not his gift. Oh, he could do it. He likes kids, he likes sports, and he likes teams who follow the rules.

But that would be like sticking a foot where your head is supposed to go. Mark is brilliant with video and drama. He writes original skits, directs plays, shoots video of events or creates and directs video, and then he can edit and even post it to a website or PowerPoint presentation. Almost every church we have belonged to has realized what a blessing this gift is and has used Mark's God-given talents in special ways.

You may think I'm biased and just bragging about my husband. Maybe... but ask yourself... are you participating in a ministry just because someone asked you to... or because that is where you are brilliant? If you're the person who recruits people for service, are you just getting warm bodies, or are you finding people who are passionate about the project?

Don't settle for less. God doesn't. He created each one of us with a gift. Some talents are just easier to spot.

"For just as we have many members in one body and the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ..." Romans 12:4-5 (NASB)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Prentice Meador

I didn't intend to write about Prentice Meador today... I had a whole different essay I wanted to share with you about our new church. But our new preacher has the same fiery intensity and great delivery that Prentice has... had.

Prentice died Tuesday after a quick, but toxic infection took over his body. Prentice was an incredible communicator, a great preacher and terrific writer. I attended his church in Dallas for about six years, and see that as a time that my faith grew incredibly... due to his teaching.

You may know Prentice from his appearances on "American Religious Town Hall."

Dr. Meador leaves behind a wonderful legacy of children, grandchildren, books and sermons online. I hope that all those of us inspired by his love of the Lord, his admonitions to speak well of the church and to follow Jesus will leave a legacy, too.

Prentice was a runner. But he had his priorities. After I ran my first marathon, he congratulated me, and said sadly, "I'll probably never be able to run one, since they are held on Sundays."

One time, while I was working for the Automotive Satellite Television Network, I had a cool Dodge sports coupe to drive for a week. One Wednesday night after church, Prentice and I were walking out of the building at the same time. I dangled the keys, "Would you like to take a spin around the block?" He grinned and had that standard shift dancing in seconds. Then he said, "I could never have a car like this. Some people would complain that I was making too much money!"

It cannot be easy to be a preacher.

But I know where he is now... and I'd like to think God called Prentice so quickly because there was a little red sports car parked on a cloud that just couldn't wait for a new owner.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Some folks really get on their soapbox about the appropriate time to decorate for Christmas or the date to send greetings. I think this is humorous since we can celebrate Jesus' birth all year long!

Admittedly, I'm a sucker for Christmas hymns, carols, songs. We interviewed a gospel recording artist on our morning talk show this week. His name is Travis Cottrell, and his new Christmas CD is Ring the Bells. Sometimes when there are extra give-aways, we hosts get to keep a copy for ourselves, and I'm so thankful that I got to keep this CD. It's great! I normally try to wait until after Thanksgiving to play Christmas CD's around the house, but I've been listening to Ring the Bells all day, and it has kept a smile on a my face. My favorites are the title song and his rendition of "O Holy Night." It's heart-soaring.

So if the economy has you worried, put on a Christmas CD. And think about that little baby in a manger. He came to Earth so you wouldn't have to panic about anything... at any time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finding Solutions

Sometimes encouraging can be as simple as not picking people apart on different opinions. My friend Dena Dyer came up with a compromise for political arguments by creating a clever YouTube video. I liked it so much, I asked her opinion to put it on "Mornings," and then she wrote a press release about her video. She's given me permission to share it with you.

Top Mom-Blogger Urges Mothers to Vote, Not Fight

After noticing that the nomination of Sarah Palin had re-ignited the "mommy wars," mom-blogger Dena Dyer created a Dr. Suess parody video called "Red (State) Mom, Blue (State) Mom" urging mothers to vote their beliefs, not fight about them.

Fredericksburg, Texas (PRWEB) October 18, 2008 -- The nomination of Sarah Palin has re-ignited the "mommy wars." Over water coolers, in chat rooms and in person, mothers are once again sparring over politics, childcare choices, and the work/life balance.

Award-winning mommy blogger Dena Dyer says, "It bothers me that so many mothers are up in arms, and that they are spending countless hours fighting about the candidates."Dyer has friends on both sides of the political spectrum, so she came up with a Dr. Suess parody that encourages moms to vote their beliefs, not fight about them. "Red (State) Mom, Blue (State) Mom" is based on the classic children's book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and is available on YouTube at

The video was featured on FamilyNet's national morning show, "Mornings with Lorri & Larry." Co-host and guest coordinator Lorri Allen says, "We are always looking for timely stories on our morning talk show. Dena Dyer's Dr. Seuss parody was a perfect fit for us. She not only entertains, she also offers a peaceful solution to political bickering."

Dyer believes that moms have more in common than they think. "I've been a stay-at-home mom, at work-at-home mom, and a work-outside-the-home mom. I've had my kids in public and private schools, and I have a lot of friends that homeschool their children. And you know what? We moms are more alike than not. We tend to want the same things for our children, though we may disagree on how to get there."

She adds, "I hope moms will watch the video and laugh. I also hope they'll realize that the energy they're spending on battling other moms could be better spent on making the changes they long for a reality."

For more info, including the text to "Red (State) Mom, Blue (State) Mom," visit

Friday, October 17, 2008

College Football

I love this time of year! College football is so much fun to watch, and if you're a fan like me, it's great exercise--there's all the jumping and cheering in the stands and the throwing of things if you're watching on TV.

Time for true confessions: I am such a fan that it is hard for me to be a Christian Encourager when I think of my team's dreaded rivals. But in the last few years, I have decided it was time for me to grow up. How can I be a faith-based talk show host one day and be yelling nasty things the next day in the Cotton Bowl? Well, not that I would normally think of nasty things to say, but there's this one part of the fight song that the whole Longhorn nation has adopted that is just not polite language.

So this year, I prayed for the best team to win, for no one on either side to get hurt, and then... the hard prayer... to surrender the game! See, I think I thought that I could will my team to victory if I shouted louder, concentrated more or tensed harder. So many, many times in the dramatic game last Saturday, I prayed, "Lord, I surrender this game to you."

Now that might make me a bad fan to some. Like I was giving up. But it gave me peace. Victory in a football game just can't take precedence over victory in Jesus. I didn't want the rivals or the outcome to have that much control over me.

And you know what? I can't take credit for this, as much as I'd like to, but our team had a surprising upset over the #1 team in the country! And you know what else, the rivals' fans I encountered were nicer to me than I've experienced in years. Maybe God loves people from Oklahoma, too. Ha ha... just joking.

OK, now I'm going to start working on surrendering that Missouri game tomorrow night...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Notice Your Signs

When my husband gets grumpy, I feed him. Then he becomes the sweetheart I fell in love with. When I notice that every little thing makes me angry, I know I need a nap. For him, it's food. For me, it's sleep.

What are the signs you have gone from being a great person to a grouch? Most of us want to be encouragers, role models, Christian examples... but we are human. We can get waylaid by low blood sugar, fatigue or something else.

Please take care of yourself -- and I promise that I will, too! I don't like being angry. Hmmm, a nap sounds good right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Change of Scenery

Over the weekend, I snuck away for a weekend with girlfriends. Just to give you an idea of how beautiful God's creation is, we had a picnic at the place where the film The Last of the Mohicans was shot. I had no idea how just getting away from the city and spending time with friends I hadn't seen in awhile would relax AND invigorate me. I feel so rested and rejuvenated.

So I want to encourage you to take a mini-vacation. In these days of high tension and uncertainty, you may not feel like you can afford to drive a few hours away. But you can go to a state park or take a walk and appreciate the cooler temperatures. Sleep in if you can or take a nap--anything to change up your routine and recharge your batteries.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Missing the Lone Star State

No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us,
coloring our perceptions of the world.
-- Elmer Kelton

Georgia really is much prettier. Texas must be a State of mind.

Today I saw a big doe at Stone Mountain. I wouldn't see that on the Fort Worth levees!
Later, I fell. My shoulder is bloody and bruised. I never fell running on the levees--maybe it's these hills that are doing me in.

What's doing you in? Is it your state of mind or the hills you climb as you fight life's battles?

Bactine, chocolate, prayer and knowing I'll be back home next month for a visit to The State Fair have me feeling better.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What a Way to Start the Day

My friend Gloria's sweet husband had been sick for months. He died earlier this year. They had been married many years and had shared many happinesses and a few sadnesses. But they loved and served the Lord together and loved each other so much.

Last week, I got a message from Gloria:

"I decided that LIFE is for the living, and we start making choices every morning as soon as we open our eyes; do I get up or spend the day in bed? Do I smile or whine? Am I sad or happy? I AM SO BLESSED, how could I not thank God? So I do thank Him, over and over and over again."

If anyone had an excuse to spend the day in bed, whine and be sad, it would be Gloria. But no, she's made different choices and what an example she is to all of us.

High Def

My husband has been wanting a flat screen TV set for more than a year. I gave him a coupon for one at Christmas (not knowing how expensive these sets were)... and because our house was not selling, I asked him to wait... and wait... and wait.

The Christmas gift also became a Valentine's gift, an anniversary gift, and finally, for his birthday this month, the house sold, so he got to purchase the long-awaited present. He did find a bargain (phew). And he has been watching that set for more than a week every chance he gets. He delights in showing me and friends the difference in the picture between an analog signal and a high-definition signal.

The HD picture is amazing. You can see details in a football game that keep you from knowing the score, such as the label of a soft drink bottle.

It made me think about our spiritual lives. If all of a sudden our souls were broadcast in such detail, would we be more careful about how we love and serve? If our actions were seen in high def, would we be more thoughtful, kind and action-oriented?

Or would we be paying so much attention to little details that we would neglect to see the big picture?

Mark is calling... there's something he wants to show me on TV...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Way back in November, I wrote about the Saint Joseph statue and our effort to sell our house in Texas... well, God may have been testing us! The house sale finally closed last Friday. We are convinced the prayers of our friends and co-workers made the difference. We are relieved to have one less house payment, one less electric payment, one less insurance payment, etc. But as Texas natives, we are sad to cut the ties that made us official residents.

Once all our furniture was moved, the house wasn't so special anymore... just a shell. And it made me realize that a house is only a home when you are with those you love. My prayer is that wherever you live, you are with someone who shares your faith, your love and your joy.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not the Real Thing

We often have very special guests on our morning talk show. But we don't often take pictures. Today, we did. This fellow was funny, inspirational and nice. I think he may have been better than the original, at least for me, because I would've been very nervous around the real "Dubya." John Morgan has a new book: My Life As A Bush...and My Heart for Imitating Jesus.
Isn't that a great title? The book is about how important it is to imitate the real leader of the Universe, Jesus. John has touching stories and he has hilarious ones, especially about the reactions from people who think he is really the president. It's uncanny how much John looks like George, but it's wonderful how John is using his gift of mimicry to reach out and engage people with his faith.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All is Right

I have to share good news... We have an offer on our house in Texas! God is good. And to top it off, Mom, Dad and my aunt Anne received minimal damage from Hurricane Dolly. Phew.

Here's icing on the cake, just a small detail God knew we would enjoy: Last Sunday, on our way to visit a church in suburban Atlanta, we had to slow down to let a beautiful doe cross the road.

Life is stressful. Enjoy the good news days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Blogs are cool and so are the social networking sites. My husband and I are having fun with Facebook. In our hectic world, it's a bit of a mental vacation to see a note that someone from your past wants to be your "friend." You can post information about your faith and connect with people from your high school!

Last week, we were in Texas fixing up our house to put it back on the market. And I walked into our old Post Office. Joe, a postal worker I'd made friends with on my many trips to the PO, got a big smile on his face, slapped a "Next Window Please" sign in front of his register and came to give me a big hug. That made me feel good, to have someone so happy to see me.

So whether it's connecting with an old friend on a website or in person, reach out. It's a foretaste of Heaven.

And if you're on Facebook, I'd love to be your friend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

God's Protection

This is a follow-up to the last entry about falling. My friend Craig emailed me and said, "You could have broken something. God was really watching out for you!"

And indeed He was. Not only was I not very sore the next day, the scrapes lasted about two days and were gone. And remember part of my job description these days: TV Co-host? What if I had broken my jaw, my nose or put out an eye?

And it gets better. The very next morning, on an early Sunday morning, I was jogging on a street that's usually quite quiet at that time. At the turnaround, I noticed a large truck stopped by the spot I had passed just three minutes earlier. An earth-moving machine had come loose from the truck's trailer and landed on the sidewalk. I'm talking a big, huge chain--broken in two. If that machine hit me... well, I'd probably be dead now.

It's not just me. God watches out for you, too. How many near-accidents, near-misses have you avoided on the jogging paths of life? We chalk it up to coincidence, being in the right place at the right time... but there's more to it. A lot more.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I may not run with a group in Atlanta yet, but I run with people every Saturday morning. The five-mile loop around beautiful Stone Mountain gets crowded early, and the joggers/walkers/dogs/cyclists are as interesting to behold as the birds, carvings and flowers.

So today, in an effort to avoid a human traffic jam, I jumped off the sidewalk and ran on the ground near the mountain side of the trail. It was a mistake. I tripped over a tree root and crash… bam… in slow motion I thought, “I can’t avoid this fall.” And I tumbled, rolled and stopped.

“Are you OK?” two women asked in unison.

“Fine,” I smiled, knowing they wanted to be on their way. But I wanted to cry, “No! Come help me up!” I knew the quicker I rose, the better I’d be. I had dirt from shoulder to ankle on one side and blood trickling off my elbow and knee. I was unaware of it, though, until the next woman I passed asked, “Did you fall?”

I smiled again, “I wrestled a big bear.” She was past me then, but I imagined she smiled, too.

Then my worry became that my husband, who was walking the loop in the opposite direction, would come upon me before I could wash up. He gets crazy when I am clumsy and threatens to make me quit running. For Life. But I finished the loop and found a restroom to wash the evidence away before I encountered him. He didn’t even notice anything amiss. I ran another loop, a little slower than usual, starting to feel the damage inflicted, mostly from trying to stop the fall.

I’m scraped, a little swollen, and I’ll probably be sore tomorrow. But you know, I’ve had worse falls and worse abrasions. God took care of me. I could've rolled into a patch of poison oak that appears to be growing with abandon at the mountain. And I'm so allergic to it.

Aren’t falls like life? They offer many lessons: We need to be a little more careful when we get off the regular path. And perhaps when someone offers help, we can be quicker to accept. It might be smarter to run with friends... even husbands. But the biggest lesson of all… we will fall sometime--whether it’s a death in the family, job loss, car crash or illness--but will we get back up on the trail and keep going?

We can do it with God's help.

"For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up." Ecclesiastes 4:10 NASB

Monday, May 26, 2008

Running Advice for the Road of Life

Here's what makes runs work for me in Atlanta: I speed with the momentum down the hills and when the path takes me up the side of a mountain, I know that it's OK to walk if I need to. The uphills are getting easier with practice.

So, in life, when relationships, work, school and physical fitness are going well, take the momentum and do as much as you can. When you're challenged by obstacles, know that it is OK to take shorter steps and go slower.

Every life has its peaks and valleys. A financial coach told me recently that we will all be hit by crisis every 15 years. We can prepare for the hard times mentally and spiritually, so that when we are tested by the high hills, our ability to tackle them comes easier.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Never Give Up

Keep those dreams that seem impossible on a back burner and move on to something else. Check the fire once in a while to see if those old dreams are still simmering. Maybe they've gotten cold and are not supposed to be a part of your life any longer. But if you're like me, you'd almost forgotten they were there... and God improves upon them.

If you've heard me speak about my early broadcasting career, you know that more than one news director told me to lose weight. One even told me that since I was "no Miss America," I'd have to work really hard in this business. In retrospect, what great advice for anyone: work hard!

God has a sense of humor. I'd all but given up on my broadcasting career. And now, thanks to Him, I am on radio three hours a day and TV two hours a day. One of my favorite parts of the day is Kelly, our makeup artist. I'm a wrinkled 40-something woman who still needs to lose a dress size or two, but she makes me feel like Miss America.

If old dreams can get resurrected in an amazing way for me, they sure can for you. Trust God, surrender your agenda to Him and check the stove.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Simple Advice

Buffy, our Border Terrier, is the most verbal dog we have ever met. She carries on a conversation with squeaks, whines and shakes. That we don't speak canine is of little bother to her. She answers our questions and asks us some of her own.

So, suffering a bit of writer's block, I just asked her, "Buffy, what could I say to encourage people today?" She squealed and wagged her tail. Then she rolled over on her back and smiled. I think that means we all just need to wag our tails a little more (smile) and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Are there people--and you can define that loosely--in your life who are trying to give you an important message, and you're just not listening? Maybe there is a communication barrier or a credibility gap, so take another try. It may be simple advice that just takes you away from the cat, er, rat race for awhile.

Now, Buffy is taking a nap. What a great role model she is. I think I'll do the same.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hair-y Situation

Katie Couric has lamented that she can give the most important news of the decade and all viewers comment about is her hair. One of my colleagues at FamilyNet television has consoled me with similar sentiments.

She was trying to make me feel better because I was upset at my boy-length hair. The powers that be wanted me to get a new hairdo, and the stylist cut much more off than I expected. The new style came at the end of a hard transition to a new city and new job, and in retrospect, it was the straw that broke my back. I admit I overreacted. But I hated my hair so much, that for two weeks, I only went to work and back because I didn't want anyone to see me! Isn't that ridiculous? At least I had hair! I ran into an old friend, a TV Consultant, at the National Religious Broadcasters convention, and she said for women in television who are constantly told to fix this or that, hair length is a control issue. She's probably right. I've been told to get my hair permed, colored, straightened, styled, highlighted, smoothed and gelled. I've been told to lose weight, wear different clothes, lower my voice, lose my accent, smile more, not smile as much, wear more makeup and so on.

So it goes back to the prayer I said last year that changed my life: "Lord, I surrender my agenda, my career, my plans to you." And after I finally realized that my hair was growing out, I understood that I needed to surrender it, too. So what if the boss didn't like it long? He's paying me. Last year, when I wasn't getting paid, I wore a pony tail and running gear to the radio station every day. I'd rather get paid! Now, I'm waiting for them to tell me to lose weight, because with all this consternation about my hair, I've been eating a lot of chocolate!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Atlanta Twister

So many friends and family members have called or emailed in the last 48 hours to see if we are OK. We sure do appreciate your love and concern. We were actually visiting North Carolina and didn't even know Atlanta had a deadly storm until Mark's dad started calling early Saturday--and he never calls early on Saturday!

Our prayers go out to those who have been affected by the weather in the southeast and to those impacted by the crane collapse in Manhattan. We may never know this side of Heaven why some suffer more than others. We do know that our Saviour offers comfort and hope.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Catching Up

Happy New Year! No... Happy Ground Hog Day... No... Happy Valentine's Day! Missed that, too... Hey, How about President's Day?

Well, my birthday is this week. How about we get a clean, fresh start on 2008 with that? You would not believe what all has happened... and not happened since I last wrote about my marathon in December.

Most of the activity has been around our move to Atlanta and the new jobs. But I also had a chance to travel back to Texas and speak to the wonderful women at Northside. That was definitely a high point of the last couple of months.

Rather than bore you with a litany of woes or wows, I'll just tell you that never have I been more convinced that God wants us to surrender to Him. He will make our lives miserable if that's what it takes to depend on Him. He will also give us opportunities to talk about Him and his love, if we seek them.

God bless you!